Volleyball community, DP mourn passing of Sam Wopat

STANFORD — The Santa Barbara volleyball community and Dos Pueblos High are mourning the passing of Samantha “Sam” Wopat.

Wopat, a two-time All-CIF volleyball player at Dos Pueblos and a member of the women’s volleyball team at Stanford, died Sunday at Stanford Hospital, the university announced Monday. She was surrounded by family, friends and teammates.

Wopat, 19, was hospitalized on Saturday, March 17, after a medical emergency at her Stanford residence. She remained in the intensive care unit of Stanford Hospital until her death. The cause of death was not released.

Wopat was completing her sophomore year at Stanford. She and her twin sister, Carly, joined the Cardinal in 2010. Sam appeared in 25 sets as a sophomore and averaged 1.16 kills per set. As a freshman, she saw action in 11 sets and registered a .571 season hitting percentage.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sam Wopat,” Bob Bowlsby, the Director of Athletics at Stanford, said in a statement. “She was an integral member of the Stanford Athletics family and a tremendous student and athlete. On behalf of our administration, coaches and students I extend my condolences to Sam’s siblings, parents, relatives and friends. Stanford University and the Women’s Volleyball program have lost a wonderful young woman.”

At Dos Pueblos, she helped the Chargers win the CIF-Southern Section Division 1-A championship in 2009 and reach the finals in 2008.

“The Charger Family is deeply saddened and heart-broken with the passing of Sam,” wrote Dos Pueblos Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus. “She was not only a great student-athlete, but an amazing person as well.  She had a positive impact and truly inspired those around her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wopat Family.”

Sam was a member of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. In 2009, she participated in Thailand as a member of the U.S. Youth National Team that competed at the World Championships. She was a member of Junior Olympic teams in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

According to a post on “Volley Talk,” there were cards supporting Wopat at the Stanford men’s volleyball alumni match in Maples Pavilion on Saturday.

Reaction on her death included the following comments:

“This is an unbelievable loss. My condolences to the Wopat and Stanford families. Simply unbelievable . . . This is so sad. I can’t stop thinking about her, she was too young. Life is so unfair sometimes . . . My stomach literally just dropped. So devastating to hear. Sending lots of positive vibes to her family/friends . . . Our small volleyball community has lost a beautiful and gentle soul . . . We are truly heartbroken over this devastating and unfathomable tragedy and send our deepest condolences to the Wopat family, the Stanford volleyball players and program and the closely-knit Santa Barbara/Dos Pueblos volleyball communities. You have lost a wonderful person; may her light continue to shine through all of you.”

Samantha Alohilani Wopat, is survived by her parents, Ron and Kathy Wopat of Santa Barbara, her twin sister, Carly, and two younger brothers, Jackson and Eli.

Information about a memorial to celebrate Sam Wopat’s life will be shared as it becomes available. In the meantime, the university continues to provide support to the Wopat family and to Sam Wopat’s friends, teammates and fellow students.

Story includes information from Palo Alto Online.


  1. Kim Dvorak says

    This is so tragic!  What an unbelievable athlete and student.  Our prayers are with her family and friends.  The volleyball community is small but powerful.  Please keep them in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their beautiful daughter.